COLUMBUS GROVE – The game was 42 minutes late getting started because the umpires had been assigned to a field 30 minutes away.
Lima Central Catholic made it a five-inning game so everyone could still eat dinner at a reasonable hour.
LCC posted a convincing 12-0, five-inning, run-rule win over Columbus Grove to win the girls softball Division IV sectional championship game Thursday at Columbus Grove.
LCC (6-11), which has won five in a row, advances to the district semifinals to meet the Wayne Trace/Cory-Rawson winner at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Elida.
It marks LCC’s second straight trip to the district.
Columbus Grove (11-8) had beaten LCC 6-2 earlier in the year.
“We grew up,” LCC coach Brett Roehm said of his team’s sectional title. “We have freshmen who
haven’t played at this level. We have sophomores who haven’t played and with not having a JV team, we struggled early. … But we’ve grown up. The girls are starting to believe in themselves. I can’t be more proud of these kids.’’
LCC pitcher Jaylen Roehm tossed the five-inning shutout, giving up five hits. She struck out five and walked two.
Roehm threw 77 pitches, 51 for strikes.
Roehm, who is batting .489, also led the way with the bat. The senior went 3 for 3 with a single, double, triple and three RBI. She was also walked intentionally.
LCC catcher Kiegh Macklin went 3 for 4 with a double and an RBI.
Kyla Badea went 2 for 4 with a triple and two RBI.
Emma Skinner was 2 for 4 with an RBI.
Melana Badea was 1 for 3 with a two-run triple.
LCC scored one in the first, the added two in the second and four in the third to take a 7-0 lead.
That was more than enough for Roehm, who settled down after walking her only two batters in the first inning. After the first, she pounded the strike zone with her fastball and change-up.
Coach Roehm said of his daughter, Jaylen, “She’s going to keep you in a ballgame. She’s a battler. She’s a competitor. Hats off to all our kids.’’
Roehm led off the game with a single and stole second.
Macklin’s RBI single to center gave the T-Birds a 1-0 lead.
The 42-minute delay didn’t bother Roehm and her teammates.
“I guess they sent them (the umpires) to the wrong place,” Roehm said. “But we said, let’s stretch a little more and get a little more prepared. We got a little more warmed up and got a little more focused. I definitely focused a little bit more.’’
In the second, LCC’s Jillian Terrill reached on an error by the Grove shortstop and Madalena Knotts walked.
Roehm’s two-run double to left gave the T-Birds a 3-0 lead.
LCC expanded its lead to 7-0 in the third. The big hit came off the bat off No. 9 hitter, Melana Badea, who roped a two-run triple to right to make it 6-0.
The T-Birds scored a run in the fourth on Emma Skinner’s RBI single to right to make it 8-0.
LCC added four more in the fifth to make it 12-0.
This time Roehm had an RBI triple to right and the T-Birds had a 9-0 lead.
Kyla Badea launched a two-run triple to right and it was 11-0. LCC scored its 12th run on an error in the fifth.
LCC finished with 13 hits against Grove starter Kam Utendorf, who gave up 12 runs, nine earned.
Jaylen Roehm felt it was a matter of her young team getting experience.
“It’s been our focus and our teamwork,” Roehm said. “At the beginning of the season we struggled and we had some new girls.
“And now we’re on a five-game winning streak and we’re bringing energy. We’re bringing focus. It’s been a matter of confidence.’’